Searching for Signal

You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. —Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV

I was watching a baseball game on television one rainy evening when the picture began breaking up.  The screen went black, and white letters appeared across the bottom: “Searching for satellite signal. Please stand by.”

After a half hour of trying to keep up with the score on a fragmented, silent screen, I gave up and went to bed. The next day, however, the reception wasn’t any better, but then again, neither was the weather. 

“I don’t remember the reception ever being this bad,” I complained to my husband.

“Maybe I didn’t angle the dish right,” he said.

At the time we were siding our house, and he’d taken the dish off the side of the house and attached it, facing the southern sky, to a post in the ground.

He pulled out the instruction manual and flipped through until he came to the section on adjusting the dish. Fifteen minutes later, we had a clear picture. Although the dish had been pointed in the right direction, it had to be at a precise angle to receive the signal from the sending satellite.

Sometimes the storms of life interfere with the signals God sends me. Or sometimes, even though I’m facing the right direction, I’m not receiving what He’s telling me because I have the wrong angle. That “angle” could be selfishness, hurt feelings, a touch of envy or jealousy, or a simmering anger. Maybe I’m nursing a grudge and harboring unforgiveness. Perhaps my desires are becoming worldly, or I’m pursuing something I know is not in God’s will for me.

Whatever the interference—whether outside of my control, such as a storm, or within my control, such as my own rebelliousness—it causes me to lose contact with a God who promises never to leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Hebrews 13:5).

So how do I adjust my angle so that I’m once again getting a clear picture?

First I pray, confessing my willfulness and sin. Or, if a life-storm is the problem, I ask God to guide me through it, protect me, and strengthen me.

Then I read His Word. While I don’t play “Bible roulette,” picking verses at random, God’s Holy Spirit often brings to mind certain portions of Scripture that address my beleaguered spirit. Frequently the day’s scheduled reading is just what I need. His Word truly is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105), “full of living power, sharper than the sharpest knife,” cutting deep into my innermost thoughts and desires, revealing to me what I really am (Hebrews 4:12).

Just reading His Word isn’t enough, however. I must meditate on it, think of how it relates to me, how to apply what I’ve read to my own situation. Then I pray again, asking God to forgive me, help me, and guide me.

Unlike my satellite dish, my angle needs adjusted every day, even moment by moment. But I know, whether storms are raging outside or inside, if I seek God with all my heart, He has promised I will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). Only then will I have a clear picture.

Thank You, God, that You are never far away. Why, You’re as close as the mention of Your name! Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 63:1–8.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

When Storms Assail

Hurricane Florence strengthens to category 4, September 12, 2018

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. –Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

As I write this (Thursday, Sept. 13), Hurricane Florence churns her way ashore, her eye on the Carolinas.

My daughter, Jaime, lives in South Carolina, so my mother’s eye is watching the track of that monstrous storm. Torrential rains and tropical-storm-force winds will extend far inland.

“Come home,” I more than suggested to her.

“I couldn’t even if I wanted to,” she said. Over a million folks evacuating the coast are on the highways heading west.

So Jaime will prepare the best she can, hunker down, and ride it out.

Storms assail no matter where we live, whether they be hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, mudslides, rainstorms, snowstorms, windstorms, or another natural disaster. At any place in the world, at any given time, disaster can strike. That doesn’t mean we live in fear or let worry consume us.

It means we do all we can to prepare, then hunker down and ride it out – and leave the outcome in God’s hands.

This goes for storms not of a physical nature, too – those emotional, mental, spiritual tempests. They can be circumstances, relationships, situations. Whatever the cause, they impact us profoundly and shatter our illusions of a smooth, easy sail through life.

Some storms, like hurricanes, we know are coming, so we can prepare. Some, like tornadoes or earthquakes, catch us unaware. But unaware doesn’t mean unprepared.

How can we prepare for the storms of life that are sure to come?

First, know they will come. No one is immune from the trials and tribulations that assail our existence on this planet. Even Jesus assured us, “In the world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). In the same statement, He gave us a way to cope: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.” Are you in Him?

Second, stock up on the essentials. Just like the folks preparing for the storm stock up on food and water, so, too, stock up on the Bread of Life and the Living Water (John 6:35 and John 4:10, 14) to keep your spirit strong. Do this by filling your mind and heart with His Word. Like the bread and water you consume physically is broken down and its nutrients absorbed by the body, so the words of The Word are absorbed into your mind and heart to nourish your spirit.

Third, make sure you have an alternate source of power. In a physical storm, the chances of losing power increase in proportion with the strength of the storm. So fresh batteries are on the stock-up list. So, too, with your spiritual storms. You know where the Source of Power is – God – and that Power will never go out. All you have to do is plug into it through prayer. Ask for strength, courage, wisdom, and whatever else you need to weather the storm.

Jesus told us to ask and we will receive (Matthew 7:7). That’s why it’s important to consume the Word so that it will abide in you and you can draw on its strength and power when you need it.

Fourth, just like folks prepare for the storm by barricading their windows, so, too, barricade your spirit with the protection only God can give. He Himself is a shield around you (Psalm 3:3). His are the wings under which you find refuge (Psalm 91:4). His angels have charge over you (Psalm 91:11).

Finally, hunker down with trust. Trust that, like Jesus knew His disciples were fighting the wind and the waves, God knows the tempest you’re facing. And like Jesus came to His disciples in the midst of the storm, so He will come to you. Indeed, He never left you (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20).

Let His command to the wind and the waves, “Peace! Be still!” reverberate in your mind and heart, and settle in your spirit.

Facing a storm? Prepare the best you can, hunker down, then ride it out, remembering God Himself is with you in the midst of your storm.

When storms assail, remind me, dear Lord, that You are all I need to survive them. Amen.

Read and meditate on Mark 4:35–41; Mark 6:45–51; Psalm 91

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.